Although the perceptual association between verticality and pitch has been widely studied, the link between loudness and verticality is not fully understood yet. While loud and quiet sounds are assumed to be equally associated crossmodally with spatial elevation, there are perceptual differences between the two types of sounds that may suggest the contrary. For example, loud sounds tend to generate greater activity, both behaviourally and neurally, than quiet sounds. Here we investigated whether this difference percolates into the crossmodal correspondence between loudness and verticality. In an initial phase, participants learned one-to-one arbitrary associations between two tones differing in loudness (82dB vs. 56dB) and two coloured rectangles (blue vs. yellow). During the experimental phase, they were presented with the two-coloured stimuli (each one located above or below a central “departure” point) together with one of the two tones.

Open Access